Lending a Hand to Tajikistan Flood Victims

Posted by Damian Wampler
May 24, 2010
Pallets of Emergency Supplies Unloaded in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

About the Author: Damian Wampler serves as an Information Officer in the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy Dushanbe in Tajikistan.

In the early morning of May 7, a massive mudslide devastated thousands of homes in Tajikistan. Estimates of the damage from the flooding in the Kulob region of this poor Central Asian country continue to grow, with more than 4,000 displaced people living in tent cities in the city of Kulob alone, and estimates of the affected population with partially or completely destroyed housing ranging from 7,600 - 11,000. On May 10, in an unexpected move, the President of Tajikistan made a formal request to the international community for help, and the U.S. Embassy responded immediately.

On May 11, U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Kenneth Gross issued a disaster declaration, recognizing the significant damage in the Kulob area, and the request for assistance from the government of Tajikistan. That same day, the U.S. government delivered $277,614 worth of non-food items to flood victims. Counterpart International distributed cots, beds, mattresses, blankets, pillows, towels, and other household items valued at $214,120. The U.S. government also provided $63,497 in medical supplies to the Central District Hospital of Kulob. On May 14, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a $50,000 grant to Save the Children to provide emergency supplies, such as hygiene kits, mattresses, blankets, and medical supplies, to more flood victims.

On May 16, the U.S. government sent an Air Force C-17 Globemaster cargo plane directly to Kulob with a full load of large, durable tents. On May 21, an Air Force C-130 Hercules transported five pallets of emergency medical supplies and hygiene kits to Dushanbe, and another shipment is expected next week. Embassy staff also did their part. Members of the Embassy's Public Affairs Section (PAS) went to Kulob with 15 boxes of clothes and non-perishable food donated from the Embassy staff. Members of the PAS gave the food products to kids in a kindergarten that was built for the flood victims, and gave the food to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The PAS noticed that very few newspapers were covering the disaster to the full extent. When we talked to reporters, we found out that many simply didn't have the means to reach Kulob. The PAS invited nine journalists to go and see the flood damage first hand and report on the disaster. Three TV stations, two radio stations, and one newspaper witnessed the damage, interviewed victims, and spoke with representatives from U.S. government-funded relief projects.



United States
May 24, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

This is one area that a professionalized development team could make a difference. Putting American architects,engineers and geologists to work in providing a sustainable building plan.

Teaching people intelligent, sustainable building practices like not building in a flood plain could prevent future disasters and save scores of lives. Professional development teams should be at the ready, deployed at a moment's notice. This is how America should be furthering its diplomacy in the world but it should be done on a massive, efficient scale. Americans have the ability and the will but need organization.

June 2, 2010

T writes:

US has played a very important role in helping the Central Asian Governments to cope with many problems. But the tragedy remains that US is still a very despised country amongst the central Asian nations. The reason is only and Only that US has gone away from the guiding principles of United States, which were Freedom, Justice, Equal Opportunity, respect for basic human rights. The the above mentioned principles defeated the USSR. They were and will always be stronger than all the weapons of Mass destruction. They are weapons of Human development and prosperity and ultimate passage to Glory. Tajikistan is suffering and US government can help the Tajik nation in solving many of its problems.

We are Organizing a Tour To Tajikistan Through Afghanistan and feel Confident that our Efforts will open the new frontiers to Tajikistan through Afghanistan


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